The Yao Ming-less, injury-laden Houston Rockets, “gritty and gutty” as they were to extend their series against the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games, hit the skids yesterday, failing to score for more than 5 minutes in the opening quarter, writes The Denver Post.

The 89-70 loss means the Denver Nuggets will face the Lakers starting Tuesday in the Western Conference final–the last series of games as the teams vie for the National Basketball Association championship. Yes, the Nuggets are in the Western Conference finals for the first time since Carmelo Anthony was a baby. By Game 3 on Saturday they’ll be in Denver to face the likes of Kobe Bryant.

By the way, if you were hoping Spike Lee’s documentary on Kobe would cover his 2003 rape allegations in Vail, this Slate writer “has a Colorado resort to sell you.”